With her new reality series Empire Girls: Julissa & Adrienne premiering tonight (at 9pm ET/8pm CT) on the Style Network, Adrienne Bailon chats with VIBE about what drama will unfold with her BFF Julissa and her future musical endeavors
VIBE: Can you give us an idea of the premise of the show or what the show is about? What can viewers expect?
Adrienne Bailon: A lot of people don’t know that Julissa [Bermudez] and I have been best friends now for ten years. We met in passing but we didn’t become friends until we were both shooting a movie for MTV. We became best friends after that movie came out. The funny thing is we have an ongoing joke that the crazy things we do, we’d literally stop and be like, “Where are the cameras?!” And we were approached by the Style Network to do a show together and we call each other the Latin Laverne & Shirley [laughs]. The show follows us wanting to take our careers to the next level, coming back to New York City, where we’re originally from—Julissa’s from Queens; I’m from Lower East Side, Manhattan—to take our careers to that next level. I am working on a solo album; I just signed with Compound, which is Ne-Yo’s company. And on her side, wanting to be a talk show host. So it’s about our careers, but at the same time, trying to find love and figuring stuff out. Figuring out, before we turn 30, trying to have it all and balance it all together between a successful career and a love life.
What makes it different than other reality shows that are on the air right now?
There has yet to be a Latina reality show like this. We are Latin American girls. And although we are culturally very Latina in our backgrounds and families, we speak English. We are an English-speaking show that shows our Latina cultural values, which I love. Other thing is a lot of people do reality shows and become famous for doing [them], but I think the great thing about this show is you’re watching two girls who have been in this game for ten years—I’ve been in it since I was fifteen years old, and now with my solo album. I love that it’s not watching us grow up and that’s what we’re famous for, you’re watching someone who already has a career, seeing the hustle and what it takes to struggle to where we are. Other reality shows are you’re famous for being famous. Like, what do you do again? This is not that.
What kind of scoop can you give us about the juicy drama or celebrity cameos on the show?
A lot of people are going to be on the show. Dj Khaled, Ne-Yo, Angie Martinez. She’s like big sister to me for so many years and a mentor. The-Dream, Meek Mill, Wale.
What kind of drama will unfold that might resonate with your fans and viewers?
I don’t want to give it all away [laughs]. The show is about having a really good girlfriend who will always keep it real with you. Sometimes when you’re so honest with someone, you have those real feelings that might offend. Some of that happens. It’s real! It’s real life.
I’ve got to ask... Is Rob Kardashian making a cameo?
You’ve got to watch, you’ve got to watch.
[Laughs] Alright, alright, fair enough. To segue into your music, you recently signed with Ne-yo’s music management. What music projects are you working on now?
I’m currently in Miami right now working with DJ Khaled and The Runners. We’re working on a solo album, putting that together. When you’re putting together your first solo album, it’s so important to have a direction that’s clear. And I think we finally have that. For me, it reminds people of where I came from—from The Cheetah Girls, you know... The Cheetah Girls was somewhat manufactured by the Disney machine. I kind of want to remind people that I came from a grassroots R&B group.
Any hints at when the album might drop?
What else do you want to add about the show?
People are going to really relate to this show because everybody has a coming-of-age crossroads when you’re like, "What the hell, what do I do with my life?” So I think they’ll definitely be able to relate to that, especially in the hustle and struggle of New York City. New York’s like the third character on the show, which I love, because we’re both native New Yorkers and able to see it from all perspectives. People will really be able to relate to our grind, and try to see if we can have the best of both worlds—incredible love lives and careers.